Intel Shines Spotlight on Upcoming Nehalem Processors - Page 2

In addition to these processors, Gelsinger announced several upcoming Nehalem-based chips, including one for high-performance computing dubbed Nehalem-EP and a number of desktop chips with the code names Havendale and Lynnfield, and notebook processors with the code names Auburndale and Clarksfield.

While Gelsinger did not delve into specific details of when all the new Nehalem processors would ship, after the high-end desktop models come to market Intel is expected to follow with chips for single-socket servers and then for two-socket systems. AMD, which is preparing a new 45-nanometer processor, wants to compete against Intel in the two-socket system space and its executives believe it will deliver the chip to this market before Intel does.

The types of power management features that Intel talked about at IDF have been around for a number of years. What is different with Nehalem is a technology Intel calls Power Gates, which not only allows for the cores to turn on and off, but further reduces leakage-the electricity that is wasted while the transistors sit idle. To achieve this, Intel incorporated power sensors into Nehalem to monitor power use and built an integrated microcontroller into the chip.

While these developments were noteworthy, the opening of IDF lacked a big-bang moment. This is due in part to the fact that many Nehalem details, from the integrated memory controller to the chip-to-chip interconnect, had already been disclosed by Intel in the months leading up to IDF. At the same time, since most of the Nehalem processors will not ship until the fourth quarter, Intel held back pricing and clock speed details.

Other Nehalem details that came to light during the opening of IDF included the processor's support of new DDR3 (double data rate) memory and the use of 8MB of Level 3 cache that will be shared across all the cores.

In addition to Nehalem, Gelsinger announced that Intel's "Dunnington" processor, a six-core, 45-nm processor for multisocket servers, will ship in September. The first of these processors, the Xeon X7460, will feature 16MB of L3 cache. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu-Siemens are all expected to release servers based on the Dunnington processors.

The opening keynotes also went over details Intel had released regarding its "Larrabee" processor for dedicated graphics.